Sunday, August 30, 2009

That's Interesting


It's my husband's favorite new word, I think.

You know, the politically correct word you use when you need to say something but have nothing nice to say...

"What an interesting sweater you have on! Where did you get it?"
Translation: You're dressed hideously and apparently have no fashion sense. Your hair is atrocious, your makeup leaves something to be desired, and even your pet looks a little mangy. Since I have nothing nice to say, I'll tell you that the shocking sweater you are offending us all with is interesting and then I'll ask where it is from as if I cared, and it might actually allow me to have some compassion and understanding if you say something quasi-reasonable like your 6-year-old knitted it for you and you'll be heading straight from here to the hospital to see him.

It gives nothing away about how you really feel but allows you to offer something as if you were. Interesting...

My husband's verbosity has dwindled away as I suspected it would, but this word has taken its place. Interestingly, a work friend just told him that he's become more verbose, and unfortunately more cynical, there. Maybe he's using all his verbosity up on them.

I'd sometimes rather the 21 questions game of not talking over this new 1-answer phenomenon. I go around in circles deciding how to respond. Do I become happy that he's talking and try to engage more? That's not worked well. Do I go back to the same method of 21 questions as if he hadn't said anything? Would that discourage him from talking if it got him the same response as not talking? At least then I'll have some idea where he stands. Do I tell him how frustrating that answer is? That I don't think that word means to me what he thinks it means? Of the social connotations it conveys? None of it has really reached a solution we're both comfortable with. Whatever I say, he just says it is interesting. What that means to him is that he's relying on me to inform him and is emotionally detached. What that means to me is that he's intellectually engaged and therefore to some level emotionally attached (excited, interested, invested, etc). Imagine the frustration we both have when the expectations are so disparate.

I think we're going to have to define the word interesting or ban it from our vocabulary completely. Maybe then I'll get some of that wit he's wasting on the co-workers. Even my husband will tell you that they're about the most uninteresting bunch around. And from him, that's saying something.


  1. My husband's favorite response for most questions is "I don't know". This is standard for questions such as "What time do you want to leave to go to your mother's house?" to "What would you like for dinner, chicken or hamburger?" Before understanding about AS, this was a constant frustration for me. Now I do my best to avoid these sorts of questions, and just make the decision myself, or I throw out a time to leave and he will tell me if that's not what he wants. And I just make hamburgers. There ARE ways to work around this sort of frustration, it just takes the realization that it's a typical AS response and you can find other means to extract information besides a direct query. I am a planner, so you can imagine my first reactions to these sorts of responses. I was floored.
    Oh, and by the way, he directly told me the dress I was wearing the other day "made me look fat". I cracked up laughing, it delighted me, my wonderful beautiful AS baby! :D

  2. I chatted with a newly diagnosed AS young adult the other day. He was very distraught and depressed, not at the diagnosis, but at people in general. He'd been the victim of teasing for not fitting in, and naturally, he thought it was people just being jerks and had nothing to do with him. Yes, it was people being jerks, social interactions are hard for teens, and AS teens especially. He has formed the opinion that everyone is against him, hates him, and of course dislikes him for no reason he can think of, except that everyone he meets is a jerk. It was so hard for me to try to tell him it was actually "him" and his interactions. It was heartbreaking...